Stopped Cold

For much of the season, Virginia's commanding offensive attack has left opposing defenses looking for answers. Saturday against a dominating Florida State defensive front, it was the Cavaliers that were at a loss. Literally.

Florida State defenders tallied 17 tackles for loss and five sacks against the Cavaliers, pushing them back a total of 97 yards in their 36-3 blowout win.

"When the Florida State defense comes to play, you see what happens," linebacker Buster Davis said.

"We shut teams down. We took them out of their offense and out them in a position they're not used to."

The Seminoles limited Virginia to just 23 yards on the ground Saturday night, forcing the Cavs out of a their run-first game plan that was a huge factor that lead to their 5-0 start. Prior to Saturday, UVA had been rolling up an ACC-leading 275 rushing yards per contest.

"As long as you play defense like that you are going to win," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said.

"We were focused on what we came here to do." The Cavaliers gained just five yards on the ground in the first half as FSU built a 19-3 lead at the intermission. When UVA abandoned the run, quarterback Marques Hagans was prone to a relentless pass rush, and made some harried decisions and poor throws as a result.

"That's when you can send the house and that's what we did tonight," Davis said.

FSU defenders also chalked up two of the game's more crucial plays. Linebacker Ernie Sims blocked a punt out of the end zone to give the Seminoles a safety and a 2-0 lead. Safety Jerome Carter snared a third quarter interception on a pass tipped by Andre Fluellen to give FSU a stranglehold on the game.

"The inability of the offense to sustain anything [hurt] us," Virginia coach Al Groh said. The Seminoles have racked up 70 tackles for loss and 23 sacks so far this season, both tops in the ACC.

Nole Digest Top Stories